Fasting in Ramadan is the best means to purify our souls and to set our thinking right. It strengthens not only our bodies but also our spirits. The purpose of fasting as Allah says in the Qur’an is to establish taqwa firmly in the heart. Allah Almighty says, [O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off evil)..] (Al-Baqarah 183)
Taqwa (piety and being conscious of Allah) is an all-embracing concept. The word “taqwa” is derived from the Arabic verb “ittaqa” meaning to take shelter or protect oneself by any means. The verb “taqawwa” means to strengthen oneself or become more powerful or draw a force from a spiritual or material source.
As you can see, taqwa means protection and power. To have taqwa in the heart means to be strong in body and spirit and to be able to resist the temptation of evil and human desires and lust. Thus the impious person has no resistance or power to protect himself.
That is why he can easily be overcome by evil and can easily follow his whims and personal longings, which at last can lead him to destruction and agony. Taqwa, which as we said is the purpose and the fruit of fasting, is wide in its sense. It embraces everything that can harm or benefit man.
Ramadan is the month of intensive `ibadah (worship). We worship Allah in Ramadan by our bodies, spirits, hearts, souls and minds. Abstaining from food and drink is not enough to have your fast complete.
Fasting is good behavior and straightforwardness in everything. We should fast against idle talk, bad feelings towards others, backbiting, insults, (false or unfounded) accusations and any harm that can touch any Muslim or fellow human. Even if someone insults or provokes a fasting person and totally extorts him, the fasting person should ignore him and leave and seek safety by taking refuge with Allah not to answer or exchange abusive words or aggressive behavior; otherwise his fasting will be fruitless.
If we are commanded not to do evil, this means that we should do good deeds and works instead. This is because fasting teaches us to develop our conscience and how to attain self-discipline and to be aware that we are in a direct relationship with Allah. Fasting is the core and most important act among all the acts of worship.
Every day of Ramadan is honored by Allah and the Prophet because the Qur’an, which is called by Allah the spirit, guidance, light, and source of laws, was revealed in this blessed month to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
The last ten days have a special place in Islam because among them comes Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power). The Prophet said about this majestic night “Any Muslim who stands in prayer during the Night of Qadr out of faith and sincerity, his/her previous sins shall be forgiven.”
The Prophet used to enter itikaf (seclusion) in these last ten days, and so did his wives. Itikaf generally means to be holy with Allah, to stay in the mosque or any place you choose for yourself and spend your time in prayer, reading Qur’an, making dhikr (remembering Allah) and glorifying Him. This definitely will help you to develop a better sense of taqwa and shake off your sins, worries and anxieties. May Allah help and guide you!”
By Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah